Sunday nights are different now that I’m not having the Sunday night blues… I love to sit now and plan how my week is going to pan out and reflect on how the previous days have worked out. This week has been busy, with a busy weekend as well and I’ve loved thinking back about how many friends it included..
On Friday night I went to see Educating Rita in the Lyric with a really good friend. We had front row seats and as we took our seats I was thinking we might actually be too close. But no, the seats were perfect. I could hear them sighing when they needed to, see every facial expression and almost smell the books on the fabulous set. I’d not seen the movie and that was just great as it all unfolded in front of me. Literally. I’ve never been so moved by a play in my life. The story of a longing to learn really resonated with me. I love that Rita didn’t know what she wanted to know, but knew there was more to know.. That’s the great thing about this life we are in – there is so much more to know. Apart from the actors being so well chosen that I couldn’t imagine anyone else ever in the roles, and the script being crafted to fit an NI audience, the story itself was so fitting that I spent so much of my time simultaneously thinking of the parallels and enjoying the show.
In my first year of university I studied English.. I have all the famous writers gracing my bookshelves.. but I can take as much pleasure and meaning from a well chosen quote on a facebook photo to be honest. It depends on the moment and the frame of mind that you are in at the time as to what you read in to the words of others. I was clearly not in a good (literary) place during A level English, as one of the texts was the play ‘Joan of Arc’. I didn’t read it.. didn’t get past the first 2 or 3 pages. That might have been a problem by the time I got to sit my A level.. I can’t remember the question on the ‘drama’ paper – but I recall the outline of my answer – I very succinctly and (in prob about 2000 words) outlined how I refused to answer the question under the drama section, as it wasn’t really a play, but political view points given names of characters.. no marks obviously, but I got it off my chest. And so my dalliance with words began.
Today I was lucky to attend a lecture by Professor Robert Winston at Queens as part of the NI Science Festival. The topic was ‘what makes us happy’, but I’d say 90% of the content was not necessarily on the topic, but directed at me and the fab friend I was with. I have always loved the prof, and have many of his books (quite a few more after today). He appeals to the student in me and makes me want to know more. Everything trips off his tongue as though he’s not really having to think about it and you don’t see time passing as you listen to him. The fact that I can listen to him is no mean feat for me. Anyone who ever sat in a lecture theatre with me will know that my concentration span is crap. Totally crap. I either slept (no matter how interested in the subject I was) or had to write my notes upside down under the line and back to front in order to keep me awake. Really. I’m unfortunately the type of person who reads the executive summary of the 200 page report and skims the appendices and has taken enough in to do me…
Almost as good as the content today, was the company. I am lucky to have some really wonderful friends. By wonderful, I mean not just in quality of friendship, but in who they are as a person. Without exaggeration, I think A (you know who you are) might in fact be here to change the world. I certainly feel more enriched by being in her company. If Lucy was old enough to drink wine (or Southern Comfort) with A and I, she’d tell us that we knew each other in a previous life (Lucy’s views on this from the age of 2 are a whole other story, but one I might write some day). I hope we all have friends like that that, who although we are very different people, on different paths, with different views, have similar beliefs, the same heart, and a shared understanding.
In between my literary and scholarly events this weekend, was a night with lots of gin and dancing. I call it balance.
But it too, was filled with lovely friends. I think that if we learn nothing else in this life, we need to learn people. Everyone is different, that’s my mainstay belief, and you should ‘know’ each one of your circle in a different way, but definitely know them. Life is enriched by people and shared experiences. Contrary to popular belief, its not money that makes the world go around, but friends putting their hand on your bum. ( there’s a story here about me climbing a mountain with my best friend, our kids and several other families as part of a family support event,.. at one of the tough steep bits I could feel a wee hand under my bum, giving me a wee lift up, even though she literally has no blood in her.. there was no words, just a wee hand on my bum. I love her). But here, I climbed a mountain!
Professor Winston subscribes to the evolution theory. There’s a lot in that – I’m not sure where it all sits with religion – he has written a book on that that I must get round to reading, but my current attention span is ‘Take a break’. My issue with it though is the survival of the fittest part. What I’ve learnt is that you survive best when you’re supported by people, and supporting them in return, not competing against them.